By Laleye Dipo in Minna
Not fewer than 39 lives have been lost across the country in the last five years as a result of gas explosions, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) disclosed in Minna, Niger State Thursday.
The explosions arose as a result of the mishandling of gas cylinders, wrong location of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) outlets, as well as the refusal by proprietors to follow laid down procedures for the establishment of gas stations.
The Controller, Operations DPR Office in Minna, Alhaji Abdullahi Isah Jankara, who disclosed this while addressing a stakeholders’ meeting in his office, said most of the LPG outlet management and their staff lacked enough training on how to adequately secure their stations.
According to Jankara, “All the outlets must obey the regulation or their plants will be shut down henceforth. We cannot allow you people to be killing people anyhow.”
He said the proprietors of gas stations and their staff could not be exonerated of blame from the disasters which was about the highest in the oil and gas sector of the country’s economy.
The objective of the meeting, Jankara said, was to “achieve zero incident” and ensure the attainment of culture of safety in all the outlets.
He specifically told retailers to stop the practice of “cylinder to cylinder refilling” which he said was very prone to explosion.
Jankara disclosed that gas was now available to more Nigerians unlike 20 years ago, but said from the sale outlets to the home users must imbibe safety measures to avoid loss of lives and property, insisting that violation of safety codes would be met with stiff penalties.
The Operations Controller disclosed that to ensure that proprietors adhered to Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) DPR had introduced an annual award for those who obeyed the law.
An official of DPR in charge of downstream, Alhaji Mohammed Emimaru, in a presentation charged the stakeholders to embark on adequate maintenance of their installations to ensure safety in the use of gas.